Every Child Matters is a mantra that has become prominent these past few weeks, beginning with the discovery of aboriginal children’s graves at and around residential schools.
Today I drove into Mornville and the site of the St Jean Baptiste Church. This century old Catholic church burnt to the ground on June 30, 2021. With the investigation ongoing as to the cause, the general public believes it to be arson, similar to the other Catholic churches being burnt and vandalized in the Western Provinces of Canada.
The atmosphere was solemn, people were quietly chatting, sharing stories and memories, others like me were taking pictures and reading notes people had left. Flowers had been placed in the fence while charred Teddy Bears lay on the steps. Unasked questions hung in the air. Where to start with a convoluted situation like this? How and where to begin the healing necessary on both sides of this deep festering wound. The Truth and Reconciliation movement has made progress, however there is alot more healing to be done.
The discovery of aboriginal children’s bodies around the residential schools and then the Catholics involvement in these schools is bringing up emotions and understandable anger. Pain so deep and stuffed down for so long is searching a place for their voice.
Im not aboriginal, nor am I Catholic however I have close contact with both.
With the enormous pain the aboriginal people have endured it appears the boiling point has been reached. Anger is understandable yet needs a safe healthy place to be released. Each of us has to wrestle with the injustice of it all.
We watched the Black Lives Matter convulse the USA on the killing of Tryvon Martin in 2013 and followed by George Floyd more recently. Now we have our own version, Every Child Matters.
Yes, each and Every Child Matters, and the wounded child that cowers within matters. Black Lives Matter, when we follow this reasoning…………… we all matter, what ever creed or race we are.
I don’t have answers on what the next steps to healing are, but I want to do my part. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is working on educating people to learn about this dark time of history. With stories being told, rising out of darkness into light, putting a voice to the silent cries of these children then I would hope that education would someday off set ignorance.
Nelson Mandela, being the leader of South Africa understood a country that was in need of reconciliation. He wrote this quote:
No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
This gives some insight and an invitation on how to move forward. Let’s collectively as a nation be taught to love.
For my part in the healing I want to ask good questions to residential school survivors, just sitting and listening to the story they share. We can support them with prayers for healing, bring hope and love in the form of compassion and non judgment full of mercy and grace. This won’t be an easy journey nor will it be solved by next week, or even next year, but a slow steady walk forward should eventually lead into the light.